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Surgeons Practice On Brains Made On 3D Printers


By Michael Dhar, Contributing writer
Published: 11/20/2013 10:08 AM EST on LiveScience
How much practice would you want your brain surgeon to have? Probably a lot -- and the more specific that practice is to your particular brain, the better.
Now, by combining models of brains made on 3D printers and images of simulated surgery, faculty at the University of Florida (UF) are making sure their surgeons get just this kind of training.
Researchers at the university have developed a unique "mixed reality" surgery simulator that gives doctors-in-training a chance to perform real surgery techniques on 3D-printed models derived from actual patients' brains and skulls. Researchers create the models by feeding MRI and CT scans taken from previous patients into 3D printers. Simulated skin covers the printed skulls.
Read the full article at Huffingtonpost 
(http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/20/surgeons-brains-3d-printers-practice_n_4309621.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000003)

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Why Are Glasses Perceived Differently Than Hearing Aids?


All bodies are getting assistance from technology all the time, yet some are stigmatized.Abler is one woman's quest to rectify this.

Without technology, the human body is a pretty limited instrument. We cannot write without a pen or pencil, nor eat hot soup without a bowl and, perhaps, a spoon.

And yet, only certain technologies are labeled "assistive technologies": hearing aids, prostheses, wheelchairs. But surely our pens and pencils, bowls and spoons assist us as well. The human body is not very able all on its own. 

My curiosity about how we think about these camps of "normal" and "assistive" technologies brought me to Sara Hendren, a leading thinker and writer on adaptive technologies and prosthetics. Her wonderful site, Abler, was recently syndicated by Gizmodo. I talked to her about why crutches don't look cool, where the idea of "normal" comes from, and whether the 21st century might bring greater understanding of human diversity.

Read the full article at the Atlantic 

(http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/12/why-are-glasses-perceived-differently-than-hearing-aids/282005/)

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A new golden age for cane design?

SARA HENDREN on ABLER Monday 11:22am

Auction houses will still sell you exquisite canes from the late 19th and early 20th century. They often feature ornate carved wood or engraved silver, with all manner of designs and images on their handles. For those who aren't antiques enthusiasts, however, canes have been bereft of much contemporary design imagination. Until recently, that is. An Indie-gogo funded design team, Top and Derby, have created their new "sneaker-styled" Chatfield walking cane:
A new golden age for cane design?SEXPAND
It comes in four sizes to ideally match multiple heights.
Read more at Abler. Gizmodo
(http://abler.gizmodo.com/a-new-golden-age-for-cane-design-1474883656)

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‘Woof to Wash’ laundry machine lets dogs help people with disabilities

By Nadine Kalinauskas | Good News – Tue, 26 Nov, 2013
A man from Leeds has invented a dog-controlled washing machine.
The "Woof to Wash" machine has a bark-activated "on" switch. A special "paw" button allows the pooch to easily open and close the machine's door.
The inventor, John Middleton of U.K. laundry company JTM, intends for the "Woof to Wash" machine to make laundry an easier task for people living with disabilities by letting them delegate the trickier parts of the job to support dogs who have been trained to load and empty the machines.

Read the whole article at Yahoo News 
(http://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/good-news/woof-wash-laundry-machine-lets-dogs-help-people-173054560.html)

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A Communication App For Those We Love With Autism

by Tiffany Khoshaba
Everyone ought to speak. The goal of Aut2Speak is to make that more of a reality for those suffering from non-verbal autism.
Here's to the crazy ones!
While watching a documentary about autism I knew that there must be a better way for them to communicate. If you search youtube for 'autism typing' you can find video-after-video of children and adults who are now able to express themselves through keyboard typing. The problem is that the traditional keyboard was designed for and by those who do not suffer from Autism. I wondered how we could alter this so that it can expedite the process of tying, and thus communicating, for those we love with autism. I have created a wonderful keyboard that has many features. We need your support and we appreciate every dollar we can raise for this worthy cause.
 "It would be a shame not to nurture someone's intelligence just because they cannot express it". -Gail Gilbert
Read the full article & the whole project at Kickstarter 
(http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1119286895/a-communication-app-for-those-we-love-with-autism)

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Hear this: Listening device helps children with autism


29 November 2013

In a classroom buzzing with noise, children with autism — especially those who also have hearing problems — can find it challenging to tune in.
A study published earlier this year found that 6 percent of children with hearing problems have autism, compared with 1 percent of the general population. Still, there is little research exploring devices that improve hearing in these children.
A new study, published 30 October in The Journal of Pediatrics, reports that a wireless radio-frequency listening device helps children with autism hear teachers talk, which in turn improves their social interactions and learning.
With this kind of system, a teacher wears a wireless microphone, usually on her lapel. A transmitter relays her voice to a receiver and earpiece worn by the child...
Read the full article at Sfari
(http://sfari.org/news-and-opinion/blog/2013/hear-this-listening-device-helps-children-with-autism)

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All Technology Is Assistive Technology



By Sara Hendren 

Six dispositions for designers on disability



In 1941, the husband-and-wife design team, Charles and Ray Eames, were commissioned by the US Navy to design a lightweight splint for wounded soldiers to get them out of the field more securely. Metal splints of that period weren’t secure enough to hold the leg still, causing unnecessary death from gangrene or shock, blood loss, and so on.

The Eameses had been working on techniques to mold and bend plywood, and they were able to come up with this splint design—conforming to the body without a lot of extra joints and parts. The wood design became a secure, lightweight, nest-able solution, and they produced more than 150,000 such splints for the Navy.
Over the next decade, the Eameses would go on to refine their wood-molding process to create both sculpture and functional design pieces, most notably these celebrated chairs:

Read more at Medium 
https://medium.com/thoughtful-design/a8b9a581eb62

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Health care through the lens of a technology entrepreneur



If you want to see the future of health care, the can’t miss conference of the year is the Health Innovation Summit hosted by Rock Health in San Francisco. As a practicing primary care doctor, I had the opportunity to view health care through the lenses of technology entrepreneurs. I thought the conference was even better than the one I attended last year. Absent was the provocative rhetoric by 2012 keynote speaker Vinod Khosla who noted that “technology will replace 80 percent of doctors.”
What continued to remain was the curiosity, confidence, enthusiasm, and optimism that health care and medical care could be even better and the willingness of entrepreneurs to fix a problem and build a business around it.
Themes I found particularly interesting included the following:
  • Make health care smarter by creating platforms, whether software or hardware, like wearables, to collect patient data and to analyze data, whether at the individual or population level, to gain insights and change behavior or predict outcomes.
  • Make health care better by using expertise from other fields, like the wisdom of the crowds, to provide patients more accurate diagnoses particularly when it revolves around a constellation of systems more likely due to a rare diagnosis.
  • Make the health care a more personalized care experience comparable to other industries with the use of information technology and mobile computing.
  • The creation of the ACA will fundamentally shift how patients will access care. This provides a tremendous opportunity for entrepreneurs.
  • Entrepreneurs believe that they can both do good, improve the health and medical care of individuals and the community, and make money.
Read the full article at Kevin Md
(http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2013/09/health-care-lens-technology-entrepreneur.html)

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On Life Without a Jaw



Ray827: "What questions do you always get?" 
ScribbleScribe: "From kids: Why can't she talk? [While pointing at me.] Then their parents try to explain that I can talk, but with my hands."

"From adults: Silence."
ScribbleScribe is a 24-year-old predoctoral psychology student who fielded questions yesterday, based on her life with congenital aplasia of the mandible and hearing loss. She did soanonymously on Reddit.

Her lower jaw, tongue, and the bones of her inner ear did not fully form in utero. She breathes through a tracheostomy (tube in her neck), and has since birth. She is able to hear, with aids, but she still has to get all of her nutrition through a feeding tube. She's never eaten solid food.

She drew a massive, curious, and generally effusively compassionate audience yesterday. Her writing is earnest and insightful. For example, she talks about keenly watching the progress of 3-D printing, as a potential for one day creating a mandible. And why she doesn't use assistive speech technology.
I rejected the assistive speech devices I was offered in elementary. I hated them. Why? Because the voice sounds so much different than the normal human voice. It cannot get pronunciation right. It cannot express emotion. Technology isn't advanced enough to give me the voice that I need/want. Imagine having a voice that couldn't express your intonation, your emotion, your beat ... rhythm ...
It was just monotone. Sound fun? It wasn't for me. Science needs to give me an EKG headset to monitor my brain waves and incorporate it into any assistive speech device. It would understand my intonation and my nuances of expression better than just pictures on a box.
Sign language offers me my mode of communication.

Read the full article at the Atlantic 

(http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/08/on-life-without-a-jaw/278794/)

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Can We Really 3-D Print Limbs for Amputees?




A 3-D printed prosthetic hand (John Biehler/flickr)




For the approximately 1.7 million people in the United States living without one or more of their natural limbs, the process of acquiring a prosthetic one is exhausting. It’s a drain on time and money, involving mold fitting, laser body scanning, and hours upon hours in prosthetists’ offices.

But many of the approximately 34 million people around the world living without a natural limb don’t have access to this process at all.

The motivation to research and create more advanced prosthetic limbs is not financial. The money poured into research isn’t often recouped, simply because there aren’t enough customers. And it isn’t cheap for those customers, either.

3-D printing has the potential to change this.

When Scott Summit, the founder of Bespoke Innovations, started researching 3-D prosthetics six years ago, you had to go to Los Angeles to get a 3-D body scan and it cost about $800. Summit has been working for the past six years to reach a point where fully 3-D printed prosthetics become an easy reality. Everyone I talk to about the intersection of 3-D printing and prosthetics mentions Summit as the definitive expert in the field, and he says we canright now, create a prosthetic limb with an iPhone and a 3-D printer. “I would like to see the creation of a prosthetic limb to be a viral app that’s usable by everyone,” Summit says.


Read the full article at the Atlantic 

(http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/08/can-we-really-3-d-print-limbs-for-amputees/278987/)


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The pill that can text from inside the body



Keep taking the tablets: many people take pills for years and, when asked, will quite happily admit they do not work and have never done
A new pill is being trialled which could text relatives and your doctor to show you have taken it Photo: PA
It is hoped the pills could be used to cut the number of drugs that are wasted each year as well as alert family members if medication isn’t being taken properly by elderly relatives.
Each pill contains a sensor that transmits a signal to a patch worn by the patient when the sensor itself hits the stomach acid after being swallowed. This patch then sends the data via text message or e-mail, showing that the pill has been taken.
The sensor is the size of a grain of sand and is embedded into the pill alongside copper and magnesium which make an electrical circuit when they come into contact with stomach acid, much like a potato battery. This electrical circuit powers the sensor.
The digital pill has been trialled as an extra dummy pill alongside normal high blood pressure medication by Lloyds Pharmacy, but there are hopes it could be used in active drugs in the future.
Read more at Telegraph 
(http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/10279007/The-pill-that-can-text-from-inside-the-body.html)

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Building a City with Accessibility for All


I’d like to challenge Harrisburg business owners and residents to consider this quote as it relates to people with disabilities.
When I was just 15 years old, a high school football accident suddenly caused me to need to use a wheelchair for the rest of my life. Certainly unexpected for me, the truth is, having a disability is surprisingly common. Dauphin County is home to more than 32,000 people living with disabilities, and in the United States, approximately one in five people have a disability.
With an aging population and veterans returning from war, this number will rise. Businesses and city residents need to know how to communicate and ensure inclusion of people with disabilities.
Graphic1We can ignite this inclusion by changing how we speak. Categorizing people causes segregation, and the fear of using the wrong terminology is equally debilitating. Using “people first” language is an easy solution. It simply means naming the person first and the disability second. For example, you should say “people with disabilities” instead of “the disabled” or say “a person who uses a wheelchair” instead of “a wheelchair-bound person.”
We also need to encourage city residents to ask questions and be inquisitive, as it drives understanding. Living in a diverse community, we all encounter others who are different from us. Ask questions, learn and clarify with the individual if you are unsure of the appropriate assistance to offer or how to handle a situation.
Read the full article at Today's The Day 
(http://todaysthedayhbg.com/building-a-city-with-accessibility-for-all/)

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KINECT-POWERED SIGN LANGUAGE CONVERTER HELPS THE DEAF CONVERSE

Ross Brooks on September 10, 2013.


Researchers in Japan are starting to develop a system that recognizes sign language and automatically converts it into Japanese characters – only requiring a commercial motion sensor such as the “Microsoft Kinect.”
Mizuho Information & Research Institute Inc and Chiba University aim to improve communications between hearing-impaired people and normal listeners, with plans for a prototype to be available in October 2013, and a full-fledged version in 2014.
The system uses four steps to achieve its goal:
  1. Senses the movements of the signer’s forearm (wrists, elbows, etc)
  2. Compares the movements with motion data for each word
  3. Automatically estimates the meanings of the movements
  4. Displays Japanese characters on a monitor in real time.
kinect-japanese-sign-language-2
Mizuho Information & Research Institute will be responsible for the application of the system, while Chiba University will offer a technique to recognize sign languages and prepare motion data for each word.
If the system reaches fruition, it could provide an ingenious new way for hearing-impaired people and normal listeners to interact, without having to spend months, or possible years, learning sign language. This is especially true when any kind of web-based communication is involved, making the use of microphones highly improbable.
kinect-japanese-sign-language-3
Read more at PSFK
(http://www.psfk.com/2013/09/kinect-sign-language-converter.html)

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3D-Printed Medical Devices Spark FDA Evaluation



By Tanya Lewis, Staff Writer
Published: 09/03/2013 09:22 AM EDT on LiveScience
When Kaiba Gionfriddo was just a few months old, a 3D-printed device saved his life.
Kaiba was born with a rare condition called tracheobronchomalacia, which meant his windpipe was weak, and would collapse and prevent air from flowing to his lungs. Researchers at the University of Michigan sought approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a 3D-printed tracheal splint, which they implanted around the baby's airway to help him breathe.
Thanks to 3D printing, a technology that produces objects of any shape, including medical devices highly customized for patients, from a computer model, these kinds of stories are becoming increasingly common. In order to keep up, the FDA is now looking at how it might evaluate medical devices made using 3D printers.
Read the full article at the Huffington Post 
(http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/03/3d-print-medical-devices-fda_n_3860477.html?utm_hp_ref=tw)

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Sensory Hugs Deep Pressure and Weighted Vest to aid children with autism


CC BY by Sensory Hugs
CC BY by Sensory Hugs
August 30, 2013 by 
Children with autism find it hard to concentrate, and react to sensory information. Several products are now available in the market to help them with their activities involving these skills. Earlier this year, Autism Daily Newscast reported on a new “Hugs” vest that is under development. But what about those that want a weighted vest now? This is the first in a three part series on products that are currently available on the market.
One of the highly recommended products to aid them in tasks that require sensory integration is the Sensory Hugs Deep Pressure and Weighted Vest.
Compared to a regular vest you can find and buy anywhere, Sensory Hugs Deep Pressure and Weighted Vest offers added weight and pressure in the material which transmits unconscious information from the muscles and joints of the child with autism or neurological disorders. This helps them process sensory information and improve their abilities.
For more information visit their site at  http://www.especialneeds.com/weighted-vest.html
(http://www.autismdailynewscast.com/sensory-hugs-deep-pressure-and-weighted-vest-to-aid-children-with-autism/2285/sadiaarshad/)

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RemPods





An innovative new approach which uses pop-up rooms designed to be reminiscent of a bygone era is helping to reassure dementia patients.

RemPods - which are set up like rooms from past decades - are used to help calm those in hospitals and care homes by taking them back to more familiar times.

Designed in retro themes they are filled with authentic furniture and memorabilia which is hoped to get dementia sufferers talking about the memories they still retain.


Richard Ernest
Richard Ernest (right) has now got the financial backing of two 'Dragons' including Deborah Meaden (left). The concept involves the creation of pop-up rooms reminiscent of a bygone era

The pioneering design includes a 1950s pop-up pod, pub, cinema, dance hall and vintage store, as well as many others with features from the 1960s.

They have now become a fixture in more than 40 NHS Trusts, care homes, day centres and care charities since the company was founded in 2009.

And in a further boost to the unique nostalgia product creator Richard Ernest, 35, has now got the backing of two judges from BBC2’s Dragons’ Den to roll the pods out worldwide.
 
    Mr Jones and Ms Meaden agreed to each give £50,000 to the project in exchange for a 22.5 per cent share.
    Richard described the process of going on the show as 'one of the scariest things I’ve ever done' and now intends to break into the U.S., Australia and New Zealand.

    The father-of-two, from Stroud, Gloucestershire, first came up with the idea of the pod after forming a close friendship with an elderly neighbour and his wife - who suffered with dementia.
    dementia pod
    Here a 1950's cinema dementia pod is pictured. Mr Ernest, from Gloucestershire, came up with the idea of the pod after forming a close friendship with an elderly neighbour and his wife - who suffered with dementia

    Over a period of several months Richard drove Sydney Swash, 98, to and from a care home to see his terminally ill wife.

    When she sadly passed away, the pair became close friends, going to the cinema together and to the local pub. 

    Richard had also been going through a tough time after losing his job and splitting up with his girlfriend, so they became inseparable.

    The trips with Sydney, who is now in a care home himself, became the inspiration behind Richard’s innovative product, Reminiscence Pods, or RemPods for short.


    Read the full story at the Daily Mail 

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    The Case For Making Adult Hospitals More Like Children Hospitals


    Posted: 

    By: Christopher Wanjek, LiveScience's Bad Medicine Columnist
    Published: 08/20/2013 06:45 PM EDT on LiveScience
    A gigantic bounce house, video games at every turn, cartoons on flatscreen TVs, a playground that dwarfs anything down at the local schoolyard … The best children's hospitals certainly come across as fun places to visit.
    Wouldn't it be great if adult hospitals were like this, too? Well, seriously, why aren't they? One medical student asks that question in an editorial published today (Aug. 20) in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
    Say what you will about Dr. Patch Adams and his humor-based approach to medicine, but children's hospitals are designed the way they are for two reasons: Kids don't want to be in a hospital, and higher spirits while in a hospital translate to better health outcomes. 
    Read the full article at the Huffington Post 

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    Super-organs: building body parts better than nature



    August 23, 2013

    Synthetic DNA circuits inserted into human stem cells could soon allow us to build new organs with unprecedented precision and speed. The circuits can be designed on a computer and assembled from ready-made parts ordered online. The technique could prove an efficient way of making organs for transplant without the worry of rejection, and raises the tantalising possibility that it might one day be possible to upgrade the organs we were born with. Human cells have already been used to create a tiny liver and a set of neurons.

    "At the moment, the aim is to normalise cells, but in future, enhancement has to be on the menu," says Chris Mason, a professor of regenerative medicine at University College London, who wasn't involved in the work.

    To turn induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells into a specific tissue type, they are typically placed in a soup of DNA and signalling molecules. These enter the cells and flick certain epigenetic switches. What gets turned on or off depends on the ingredients in the soup. "The problem is that there are tens of thousands of these switches that all need to be set in the right way," says Mason. Another hurdle is that all cells in the soup are influenced in the same way and grow into the same tissue type. But a piece of liver tissue, say, is not the same as a functioning liver. The issue is even more apparent with complex organs such as hearts, says Guye.

    Read the full article at Next Big Future 

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    New Findings On How Cochlea Amplifies Sound Could Lead To Better Hearing Aids


    Posted: 

    Using sensors tucked inside the ears of live gerbils, researchers from Columbia University are providing critical insights into how the ear processes sound. In particular, the researchers have uncovered new evidence on how the cochlea, a coiled portion of the inner ear, processes and amplifies sound. The findings could lay the initial building blocks for better hearing aids and implants.
    The research could also help settle a long-simmering debate: Do the inner workings of the ear function somewhat passively with sound waves traveling into the cochlea, bouncing along sensory tissue, and slowing as they encounter resistance until they are boosted and processed into sound? Or does the cochlea actively amplify sound waves? The study, published in Biophysical Journal, suggests the latter is the case.
    The team, led by Elizabeth Olson, a biomedical engineer of Columbia University, used sensors that simultaneously measured small pressure fluctuations and cell-generated voltages within the ear. The sensors allowed the researchers to pick up phase shifts—a change in the alignment of the vibrations of the sound waves within the ear—suggesting that some part of the ear was amplifying sound. What causes that phase shift is still unclear although the researchers think the power behind the phase shift comes from the outer hair cells. Apparently the hair cells’ movement serves to localize and sharpen the frequency region of amplification.
    Read more at the Huffington Post 

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    15 ways to adjust a home for someone with a disability

    Home Life by Davida Shensky on May 24, 2013


    There are many different types of disabilities, therefore, when making changes to a home to accommodate someone with a disability, you first need to consider what type of disability it is, the individual's specific needs, then the dimensions to follow based on disability access laws.

    Here are some things to consider when adjusting the home to meet the needs of someone with a disability:

    1. Counters. In the kitchen you may have to adapt counters. They may need to be shorter. Leave an open space so that someone in a wheelchair can move closer to the counter and have room for a wheelchair to maneuver underneath. You will also need to consider making sure there is space available to maneuver a wheelchair in the kitchen.

    2. Appliances. Some other objects that can be useful in the kitchen for someone with a disability include an electric can opener, an electric jar opener and food processor for vegetable cutting. When buying a stove, make sure the knobs are in front so the person in a wheelchair can reach them and turn the oven on or the top burners on.

    3. Toilets. In the bathroom you should consider having elevated toilet seats. Make sure you have bars by the toilet for someone who lacks balance to hold onto while sitting down or standing up. If you have someone that is in a wheelchair you need to have available a sliding board so you can transfer them from the wheelchair to the toilet.

    4. Sinks. Extended levers on the faucet make it easy to turn on and off the water.

    5. Bath mats. If the bathroom has a bathtub, then make sure you have a floor length mat with a non-slip backing so it will adhere to the floor to prevent the disabled person from tripping over the mat.



    Read the full story at Family Share

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